Eradicating erosion at construction sites | SierraSun.com

Eradicating erosion at construction sites

David Bunker
Sierra Sun

Jason Kelley/Sierra SunDavid Parson's, project manager for the Truckee River Watershed Council, unloads pine needle waddles, Tuesday morning, that will be used to control erosion on a construction site in Northstar. Jeff Rosenfeld of Integrated Environmental and Kate Zaloga, of Al Pombo Inc. help with the waddles.

Jeff Rosenfeld is thinking like a raindrop as he looks at a hillside at Northstar that’s crisscrossed by construction roads and trenches.

On a pad of paper he sketches where the rivulets and streams will pass over the site following a rain storm and quickly pencils in where he will put erosion control devices.

With Rosenfeld’s sketches, contractors’ workshops and tours of proper erosion protections, the Truckee River Watershed Council hopes to begin reducing the amount of sediment that runs into the Truckee River from the opened earth of the area’s increasing construction sites.

The Truckee River has been identified as an “impaired” river because of the amount of sediment carried by its waters.

The Truckee River Watershed Council program has included six workshops to educate contractors in sediment reduction methods. Six “consultations” like the one at Northstar will follow, and the program will end with six tours of construction sites that have proper erosion control devices installed.

All that work is supported by the state water board, which funded a grant to the watershed council of $50,000 for the work.

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“The idea is to bring the training to the contractor who otherwise wouldn’t pay for it,” said Rosenfeld, an employee of Tahoe City-based Integrated Environmental, which specializes in erosion control, or Best Management Practices, as they are often called.

The consultation includes a couple of pine needle waddles, which David Parsons, project manager with the watershed council, and Rosenfeld stake down to the ground near a dirt construction road and above a home site.

The hand-made, caterpillar-like filters will sift out dirt and sand carried by the water running downhill. Without them muddy water would have a clear shot into Martis Creek and eventually into the Truckee River.

Parsons said the idea of water quality protections on construction sites, which has been a stringent requirement in the Tahoe Basin for years now, is gaining traction around Truckee.

“People are realizing it’s not just the Basin anymore,” said Parsons. “It’s expanding.”

Rosenfeld is a witness to that growth. Just two years ago he was hired by Integrated Environmental and was one of three employees. Now, the company has 18 employees whose hands are full.

“A lot of the work we’ve done is on larger projects,” Rosenfeld said. “The beauty of this program is we get to share this approach with small contractors.

“It brings it right to their doorstep,” he said.

If contractors would like to have a free consultation by the Truckee River Watershed Council, call David Parsons at 550-8760